Sporting events in and around London

We all know how fanatic Brits are about their football, but this is fortunately not the only type of sports they go wild about. With over 50 major sporting events happening throughout the year here are the top 5 sporting events you should get excited about if you’re visiting London anytime soon.

Wimbledon

One of the largest sporting events in Europe, and considered the most prestigious by many a tennis fan across the globe, Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world. Keeping to traditions, the Wimbledon Championships are the only Grand Slam tournaments still played on grass, the games’ original surface since 1877 when it was held for the first time at the then ‘All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club Ground’.

strawberries wimbledon tennis

Other Wimbledon traditions such as a strict dress code for competitors, the eating of strawberries and cream by the spectators, and Royal patronage are still being retained to this day. In recent years Wimbledon’s Centre Court was fitted with a retractable roof due to the lovely British summer rain interfering with playing times in the past, so don’t fret if you forget your umbrella at your Hotel.

The London Marathon

If you plan on visiting in spring (late April), you should definitely not miss the London Marathon. Still holding the world record for the largest charity event seeing participants raise 4.6 million in 2009, the marathon attracts professional and amateur runners from all around the globe, so if you’re feeling up for a challenge don’t hesitate to sign up and join the 30,000 plus participants, or well simply go as a punter and join in the fun.

london_night

Six Nations Rugby

Another sports tournament steeped in history, the Six Nations championship is the oldest rugby championship in the world, dating back to 1882. England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy fight for the trophy on each others’ turf from February through to April, hence the games that take place in Twickenham Stadium in London, are considered as one of the most important sporting events of the year, so make sure to book your tickets and hotel as early as possible.

Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race

Starting out as a challenge between two students from the respective Universities in 1829, this annual rowing race between the Oxford University Boat Club and the Cambridge University Boat Club usually takes place on the last weekend of March or the first weekend of April on the river Thames.

An excess of a quarter of a million people watch the 4.2 mile race from the banks of the river between Putney and Mortlake each year with an additional 15 million people watching on the TV.

Royal Ascot

25 or so odd miles west of London lies the small town of Ascot, a small upscale town that hosts the most prestigious races for thoroughbred horses throughout the year. Get your top hats and best attire ready, the Queen and the rest of the Royal family are probably going to be there.

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Holidaying in a caravan vs. holidaying in a bed and breakfast

For those ruminating over the classic dilemma of the caravan holiday vs. the bed & breakfast we lay out the advantages of both below.

What’s so good about a caravan?

Caravan holidays may be something that you associate with an aunt and uncle, or the much-mocked post-war British holiday resort, but caravanning is actually growing at an incredible rate. There are now over 1 million active leisure caravans in the UK and it is estimated that the caravan industry contributes a massive £6 billion to the economy every year. With the recent increase in the popularity of music festivals a new, younger generation have embraced the caravan and all the perks that come with it.

A home away from home

When you set off on a caravan holiday there’s no need to panic about luggage restrictions or what you can and can’t bring because you can take anything that you want with you: bags full of clothes, cosmetics, video games, musical instruments, the dog, the cat; whatever you can fit in a room at home you can fit in your caravan. Taking a caravan on holiday is just like taking your home with you wherever you go and for disabled holidaymakers the ability to transport personalised facilities is invaluable.

caravan on road

Freedom

Owning a caravan gives you the freedom to work on your own schedule. There are no checkout times or dining room hours in a caravan, you can wake up when you want and eat when you want. There’s also no better way to really enjoy the countryside than in a caravan. Caravan owners can pull up and stop wherever they want and then head off somewhere new when they feel like it.

Cost

While a caravan may seem like a big commitment and lot of money up front, for those who plan to take regular or spontaneous holidays it can be very cost effective. Aside from the obvious savings on travel and accommodation, the small things also add up. Having a kitchen wherever you go stops the temptation of purchasing overpriced service station snacks and means that there’s no need to eat out in restaurants every night. Taking your pets on holiday with you can also save on kennel fees or cat sitters. There are of course additional yearly costs involved in caravanning but things like caravan insurance can actually be very reasonably priced and just like at home you can choose when and how you perform your maintenance.

What’s so good about a B&B?

Choosing the right B&B is like any choice on a holiday from picking a restaurant to deciding which bar to frequent. The experience can vary enormously depending on the establishment but when done well, the B&B experience can be a great way to experience local culture, architecture and enjoy the comfort of someone else’s home.

Character

B&Bs often have a lot more character than large hotels and staying in one can be a way to gain an insight into local residential architecture. Many B&Bs have individually decorated and themed bedrooms so it can feel like staying in someone’s finely decorated home and can also mean that no stay is ever the same.

Personal Touch

Staying at a B&B means that you absorb the tastes, company and personality of your hosts. Unlike large hotel chains, breakfast is usually home-cooked by the owners and as a result, can often be gourmet standard, as well as directly catered to your needs. B&B owners are also usually more than happy to help their guests make the most of their stays by passing on local knowledge, tips and ideas.

Costs

While B&Bs often work out cheaper than hotels in the UK, comparing the costs of staying in a B&B to a caravan is a little trickier. Buying a caravan can be a hefty investment whereas B&Bs can be a little as £30 a night. The emergence of Airbnb has also shaken the entire tourism industry with people renting out individual rooms or entire houses/apartments for a fraction of the usual costs. While these rates rarely include the traditional B&B services, booking rooms through Airbnb can be a great way to have a very cost effective getaway whilst still experiencing local cultures and meeting people.

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Camping Essentials – What Not to Forget

The Wanderer adores camping and no matter which country I’m in as long as I’m outside then I’m happy as a pig in muck, sometimes quite literally. However, as with all adventures, preparation is the key and if you’re planning on getting back to nature this year then I’ve set out the essential list below that you should certainly consider before you set off.

camping

Waterproof jacket and trousers

Weather can change in an instant, especially in the UK and France, so carrying a fold-up pair of waterproof trousers and coat can ensure that you keep warm and dry in the event of an unexpected downpour. These days ‘cags-in-bags’ can fold up to an extremely small size and although they may not look the most fashionable you’re sure to appreciate their qualities once the heavens open.

Fold-up water container

Chores are always necessary at camp and no matter whether you’re on an organised youth camp or an individual hiking trip, fetching and carrying water is just something that you have to do. These days there are plenty of soft plastic containers that will fit neatly into a backpack and can hold gallons of water at a time – perfect for washing, cooking and making a cuppa no matter how far you are from the tap.

Polly-roll

Lumpy, bumpy ground can make for an uncomfortable night’s sleep and back pain is the last thing that you want if you’re undertaking a day hike the morning after. Polly-rolls are lightweight and easy to carry and can usually fit neatly underneath most backpacks using the straps provided. They’re also great for just lounging around in the day time if you want to avoid damp or wet grass.  You can compare diferent types of sleeping bags and roll up sheets at specialist outdoor equipment suppliers such as Cotswold Outdoors

Torch

Very easy to forget for the novice camper however, come the night, a torch may well prove to be one of the most vital pieces of kit that you possess. From midnight toilet treks to investigating nocturnal noises, the humble torch, battery or energy generated, is your friend, guide and easily secreted stowaway and vital for any camping expedition.

Cooking utensils

Even if you’re going on an organised youth or summer adventure camp, carrying your own knives, forks, plates and cups is always a good idea, especially from a health perspective. It’s often difficult to thoroughly clean cooking items whilst camping so using your own may well prove to be a more hygienic method of staying safe from unwanted illnesses.

Spare pegs and mallets

Woe betides the camper who fails to secure their tent correctly due to a lack of equipment. You’ll never regret taking extra pegs and a sturdy mallet because nine times out of ten the pegs that you do have are going to get bent due to hard ground. Even if you don’t use them yourself, you can guarantee that someone on site will be after a mallet and, as we all know, sharing is what camping’s all about!

Plastic bags

You know that useless sack of plastic carriers that you’ve got taking up kitchen cupboard space? Well, here’s your chance to finally put them to good use as opposed to consigning them to land fill. From dirty plates and wet clothing to general waste and carrying firewood, plastic bags make exceptional re-cycled reciprocals no matter what your situation.

Woolly hat and socks

Even if it’s a boiling hot summer’s day and there’s not a cloud in the sky this doesn’t mean that you’re going to experience a lot hot summer’s night. We lose the majority of warmth from our head and feet so if you want to stay warm and avoid colds and other illnesses it’s wise to pack your thermal underwear because catching a chill at camp could prove disastrous.

Lighter/matches

Although not advisable to use near a tent, some kind of fire making equipment is essential for a quick and easy option if you’re not familiar with rubbing two sticks together. Of course, dampness will quickly put pay to standard matches so keeping your fire-making equipment in a plastic bag or specially marked tin box is the best idea for storage.

Trowel

From digging out stubborn pegs and stones to creating a cess pit or hole for biodegradable waste, carrying a trowel in your backpack is a splendid idea and will often come in handy when you least expect it. Make sure that you’re buying a quality trowel as opposed to a cheaper, plastic option because you don’t want to start digging a water trench in the middle of the night only for your trowel to break within a couple of minutes.

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